Know Thy Enemy: Revolution vs Sporting KC Testament of Blues Edition
Sporting KC are not good at soccer right now and three points is a must for New England before a long road trip.
I don’t want to sit here and recap all of the bad coming out of Kansas City right now soccer wise…because this would be incessantly long even for me.
The top of the Eastern Conference New England Revolution will host the bottom of the Western Conference Sporting KC today at Gillette Stadium at 730pm EDT (free on AppleTV+) and it’s not just the gulf in the standings that is staggering for these two teams.
SKC has more points this season (3) than they do goals (2) yet all of their draws have been nil-nil affairs. Despite the lack of attacking output, defensively they aren’t terrible, conceeding just 11 goals in 8 games. SKC struggled mightily with injuries last year but played well down the stretch including a seven game unbeaten streak to bolster a meager 12th place finish in the West. So while SKC might have problems scoring this year, it’s still the same organized Vermes squad we’re used to seeing.
With the Revs coming off a relatively unhappy late 1-1 draw against Columbus on the road a dominant home game would be a nice way to rebound. The schedule for the Revs starts to toughen up after this week as well, with a home match against fellow East leaders FC Cincinnati followed by a five games out of six road trip.
It’s also arguable that the Revs are still not yet firing on all cylinders, with Giacomo Vrioni starting to get more minutes and the Revs still waiting for their full compliment of midfielders to get healthy. Dylan Borrero is suspended due to last week’s red card which could mean the return of the diamond formation and Noel Buck into the starting lineup.
As SKC are still trying to just find where their cylinders are at this point, dropping points today would be a very telling blemish on the Revs schedule when looking back at potential differences between being a top seed or a Shield contender. The Revs have been able to steal results on the road so far this year, but have also have a tendacy to give up late goals so putting this game away early and holding onto a multi-goal lead should be the objective and a very achieveable one if the Revs are the East leaders we hope them to be.
Anyway, today we spoke to our good friend Cody Bradley now of the KC Soccer Journal about… *gestures at everything* …yeah, let’s go with that. Note, we set this up before the Patriots-esque signing of Ben Sweat who was just released from SKC and there’s no questions for me to answer this week but the Henry Kessler news would have been chief among them.
Anyway, head on over to their site for the other side of the Revs-SKC coverage.
1) Zero wins and just two goals in eight games so far, can you explain...no there is too much, can you try to sum up what has befallen SKC to start 2023?
1. The season started without the two best players again, Gadi Kinda and Alan Pulido. They were out all last season, and deep into this one. SKC fans are tired of hearing that excuse... but it's obviously a massive reason a small market club is going to struggle. That being said, Sporting KC finished last season as one of the hottest teams in the entire league after replacing those two positions mid season. And that's why the start of THIS season has been baffling. It was the same guys. But it's not working. Erik Thommy was one of the additions last year and he was great. But this year he's been terrible. Playing as the so-called #10, this has impacted the play of every other player on the field.
2) Is this season salvageable with summer reinforcements, getting players healthy, etc., or is this looking like a complete rebuild? Would SKC keep Peter Vermes around for such a project?
2. That's the debate right now. We're in the window where if they continue to go another couple games without the first win... there's no coming back. Even in this league where 5 points separate 4th from 10th. If you watch the team you can see reasons to believe. Pulido has yet to play 90. Kinda is nearing his first appearance. And a few other injuries are returning as well. So there's reason to believe the team will improve, and avoid being in the Wooden Spoon all season. But if they want to make a run, they better start now.
3) Is there a major tactical issue with SKC's 4-3-3 setup and how has the team tried to adjust if at all?
3. The joke here is that the 4-3-3 is Peter Vermes' religion. It's thought he doesn't adjust from there, but the system is actually quite fluid with changes and tweaks through a match. However, we've not seen a massive change to have two strikers on the field, for example. I hate to do it, but I'm again going to point back to Erik Thommy. He's been running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Energy is great and runs like crazy. But it isn't fitting the system and I believe this is hindering guys like Daniel Salloi. You could argue that tactics have been decent, because this team is creating chances. But when that final pass or touch is needed, everyone seems snake bitten.
4) Let's go to some positives, a couple of weeks ago SKC held Philly to a 0-0 draw. Was that the best game they've played this year and what went right to get that result?
4. That was a positive match which gave us all some false hope. But I'd say the 0-0 draw against the Galaxy was the best they've looked. Two horrible teams, yes. But the defense worked well that match and the offense finished with 30 shots. So that's how bad things are right now! If I'm looking for a positive, I'm holding on to a couple scoreless draws.
5) We know Salloi, Johnny F Russell, and Ezpinoza but who has been a standout for SKC so far this year despite the wretched start?
5. The only choice right now is Dany Rosero. He was an emergency center back signing in the preseason after yet another player went down for the season. The 29-year-old Colombian was immediately thrown into the ring of fire, playing 90 minutes the week he arrived. He's big, strong, and a target for set pieces. Rosero is genuinely the lone bright spot this season.
Kinda was in the XI last week, but I'd be surprised if he started. Logan Ndenbe and his calves might see their first minutes at some point as well.
Lineup: Melia, Zusi, Rosero, Fontas, Voloder, Walter, Hernandez, Thommy, Russel, Pulido, Salloi
Prediction: I'm manifesting. Positive thinking works. A broken clock is right twice a day and the ball simply has to go in the back of the net at some point.
Sporting Kansas City 2 - 1 New England Revolution